Nipplegate: The State Press pissed off a lot of people in my time at Arizona State University (1993-96). It had its fallouts, but I don't recall it ever being threatened with eviction ("Quid Pro Crow," Joe Watson, November 18).
And now, editors are getting reamed over a picture of a dirty, dirty bare breast? Grow up, ASU! Your donors may be important, but your alumni are also watching. And we'll make sure the State Press has what it needs to keep going.
Stacy Holmstedt, Mesa
Prose and Cons
A page-turner: What a yarn Paul Rubin's spun on rat bastard Bob Owens ("Lord of the Lies," November 11)! It's the second incredible winner in three weeks. But unlike Stephen Lemons' classic New Times hoax on the Preserve A Life "humidermy" company ("Forever Yours," October 28), this one's true. I know all about Yardbird P.I. (what those in the know around here call Owens), since I'm an insider in the criminal justice system in Maricopa County.
Truly, Owens' story would a movie make. Right now, I'll bet he's trying to beat Rubin to the punch by selling a script to Hollywood. But it won't work this time. Owens may be a con artist supreme, but he's not the great writer that Paul Rubin is. Even though I pretty much knew the whole story about Owens' criminal activity -- having watched cops and prosecutors compromise themselves for years by using him as a snitch -- I couldn't put Rubin's piece down. It was a real page-turner!
To his editor: No, I'm not Paul's mom. I've never met him.
Seriously, what does it take for law enforcement to get this guy off the streets?! How many more innocent people is he going to be allowed to defraud? And all you have to do is read the second story in Rubin's series to see how dangerous this guy could be. I've noted numerous crimes by Owens in what Rubin has reported. And I've got to wonder if he's even scratched the surface.
Name withheld by request
Citizens taking action: I may be just a young Maricopa County resident, but even I can see that something should be done about Bob Owens. Is there anything a common citizen, such as myself, can do to try to push for some legal action against Owens?
Thanks for the information. It sickens me, as a 20-year-old male college student in the Phoenix area, to know that this stuff goes on pretty much in my own backyard. Some people never think stuff like this is reality -- that it only happens in movies. But when you read the facts, it makes you wonder.
Christopher Rakowsky, via the Internet
Credibility gap: Yes, I am one of those dopes who fell for the outrageous article about the "Preserve A Life" program. Why? Because I thought New Times to be a credible, reputable publication, not some sophomoric piece of trash. Esteban Sauer makes reference to the spoofs done by Mad magazine. But they didn't purport to be a legitimate source of news as does New Times.
So those idiots at Primetime Live and 20/20 fell for it, too? Why? For the same reason. Do you think they will ever again contact your publication regarding any other articles that may have needed broader exposure, such as the abuse that goes on in Colorado City? I don't think so. They, like me, will adhere to the adage: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
Irreparable damage has been done to the credibility of your publication by your decision to publish that article. And for what reason? To find out how gullible your readership is? Thanks for wising me up. I, for one, will never again believe an article printed in New Times. The recent cover story by Paul Rubin, "Lord of the Lies," what a hoot! No way I'll be taken in by that one! How could it possibly be legitimate? After all, it's even more far-fetched than the Preserve A Life story.
J.M. Baca, via the Internet
One nation under a sense of humor: I wish there were more journalists like [Stephen Lemons] out there! This country would probably never be "undivided" again, since it would have a sense of humor.
Many of the responses to your "Forever Yours" article (Letters, November 11) show that we can at least laugh at ourselves. Or at least, those of us with senses of humor can laugh at the ones without any. Come to think of it, screw unity!
Chris Brose, U.S. Marine Corps, San Angelo, Texas
Crossing the line: Say, guys, I can go along with Halloween fun times, but you know in your hearts you crossed over the line of human decency by using a mounted Marine head as part of your creative joke in the "Forever Yours" article and its follow-up ("Punk You!" Stephen Lemons, November 11). All the more because of the Marines (and other soldiers) losing their lives in Iraq.
The New Times staff is a talented bunch, including Stephen Lemons. However, he may be mentally disturbed, and I wouldn't turn my back on him if I were you. Report the news, have fun, but I ask you to honor the Marines (and other soldiers) who have gallantly served our country.
Chris Frey, U.S. Marine Corps, Phoenix
Attention to detail: I have to admit I had no idea whether the article about Preserve A Life was real or not, but it sure was funny! I don't think I've read something as funny since years ago when I read a story in National Lampoon titled "Vacation 58."
The attention to detail in your story was perfect: Grandma outside under the tarp, little Marvin getting hit with a pitch, the guy who had his girlfriend's breasts enlarged. Kudos!
Craig Martin, Glendale
All the news that's fit to invent: These days it is a struggle to get the real news, with Fox and the sources readily available. I looked forward to John Dougherty's columns and was surprised when Sheriff Joe was reelected after the information Dougherty made available to the public. Now I know it's because no one takes your paper seriously.
When I want a laugh, I read The Onion, knowing that what I read is untrue. I don't appreciate being "punked."
Gail Martelli, Tempe
Seeing Red (States)
The man upstairs: John Dougherty sure is right when he says the religious right's taking over America ("Dangerous Dance," November 11.)! How could people who will suffer economically under Republicans vote for George W. Bush? I'll tell you how! 'Cause they believe Bush talks to God. Slightly more than half of the voters in this country are a bunch of lamebrains!
During the campaign, John Kerry would quote credible news stories based on facts negative to Bush, and Bush would quote God. He would say that the Almighty told him to do all the stupid and barbaric things he's doing in Iraq. Who can argue when it's God who's telling him what to do?
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And the Joe Six-packs out there, who populate red states like ours (along with right-wing Mormons), of course believed him. Because they all know that God hates gays (blasphemies!), minorities (you've seen those pictures of Jesus -- he's white and blue-eyed!) and abortion. The Theocratic States of America, indeed!
Jenna Miller, Tucson
The nuts are in charge: What the hell is going on in Maricopa County that permits an elected official [like Sheriff Joe Arpaio] access to the ballots in any -- I repeat any -- way, shape or form?
As John Dougherty's "Dangerous Dance" column illustrates, the nuts are in charge of the asylum, and no one is doing a damn thing about it! Where the hell is massive media attention on this one?
Todd Weed, Phoenix